Normalcy was today restored in trouble-torn Shopian after the 47-day-old strike against the alleged rape and murder of two women was called off following an appeal by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to end it and cooperate with the investigation.
“We have called off the strike this morning in view of the appeal by the High Court,” Mohammad Shafi Khan, the Chief spokesman of Majlis-e-Mushawarat, which spearheaded the strike, told PTI.
Within minutes of the announcement of the strike being called off, shops and business establishments reopened in Shopian, 52 kms from here, after 47 days.
Observing that the people of Shopian were not only suffering due to the strike but were also unable to assist in the investigation, Chief Justice Barin Gosh yesterday appealed to the locals to end the “hartal”.
The court also assured that “as the people of the state are behind them so is the High Court and it would be our collective effort to ultimately solve the crime and appropriately deal with the perpetrators of the heinous crime of rape followed by murder in accordance with law”. However, Khan said the peaceful “sit-in protests” will continue till July 23 when the case will come up for hearing again.
Shopian and adjoining areas went on strike on May 30 when the bodies of Asiya (17) and her sister-in-law Neelofar (22) were recovered near a stream after they went missing a day before.
Yesterday, the court directed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to arrest and produce four police officers, including the then Superintendent of Police Javid Iqbal Mattoo, in the court and get their blood samples.
Besides Mattoo, the then Deputy Superintendent of Police Rohit Baskotra, former Station House Officer Inspector Shakeel Ahmad and former Sub-inspector Gazi Abdul Karim were allegedly responsible for destructing the evidence.
The four police officers were placed under suspension after the one-man commission, which probed the double murder case, submitted its interim report on June 21.